Past: November 1 → 10, 2012
The thematic bridges and problems The permanent crisis reported in recent months concerning the Euro, financial debts, energy and climate change, raises a central question : Are we really the citizens who may/must participate in the great global upheaval of our economic system or its collapse ? There is some evidence. Documentaries- such as « Plastic Planet » or « The Light Bulb Conspiracy » try to mirror the current ecological conditions and alert us that something has come apart at the seams. As for the economic tangent : If, as Konrad Liessmann formulated, labor and consumption are the two central aspects of our existence, this practice seems to have an inevitable expiration date. How do artists broach the issue of this tension ? For a long time all economic relations (not just electricity — rent — gas) have been negotiated in the artistic practice, which commutes between post-socialism and capitalism. Ten years after Josef Beuys statement « Everybody is an artist », Martin Kippenberger replied laconically « Every artist is a human being ». Consequently there are several approaches for curatorial guidance of the exhibition program at flat1 in 2012 : Thesis : Do we define ourselves through work ? As defined by Liessmann, work is regarded as a presupposition for use and consumption and therefore a precondition for employment. The philosopher goes further to say that labor has become a term for life activity per se. Everything (up to « work on ourselves ») is occupied by this term, but without, we fear a loss of appreciation of our actions. Not the being of man is, but its work. Thesis : Do we define ourselves through money ? Subsequently, it is possible to restrict the question whether we even communicate through money. For example, the feedback for a relevant performance is given by money, in the world of work, which makes housework, besides gainful employment, second-class work. Furthermore, selective consumption allowance is counted as affirmative feedback of a particular industrial manufacturing practice — or, as its rejection. Thesis : Do we define ourselves through consumption ? The same is true with consumption, the second of two’ Liessmann’s terms. Modern man’s self-esteem derives from consumption. Consumption is always accumulating things, and our world is full of things : « Everything is there. Nothing likewise has spread out and is available for the people, awaiting its use and its disposal ». As an artist you add some more things nobody has demanded to this world of things. Thesis : Do things of art define themselves through their underlying theory ? Here the question « What makes these things to art objects ? » arises. According to Liessman, if it is true that this emphatically proposed theory is able change arbitrariness and irrelevance into aesthetic sensations, the question « what forces us to do things and even the want to possess them » is still not clarified. Selected art works reflect on the relationship between humans consumer,- affluent,- disposal culture. Thesis : Do artists define themselves according to market- economical laws ? Artistic practice in this sense has also become work and properly complies with legal requirements of the laws of market economy. At « art events » , the arts- and event management has come to the fore instead of the artists themselves. The result : artificial manipulation of artistic content and the juggling of numbers of visitors. The requirement is « self- display » as an artistic brand, and sell, the louder the better. Thesis : Does female art defines itself as a product range of artists ? In the current economic situation, this mechanism also deteriorates the gender issue. The female artist herself mutates to the object and manages the breakthrough only by selling her own through self promotion, bordering prostitution. Thereby the emancipatory claim of entire generations of artists would get lost at one go.
Text : maria hanl / karin maria pfeifer.
21, av du Maine
T. 01 42 22 05 68
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Karin Maria Pfeifer